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Challenges for the development of an integrated agro-food-energy-biochemical nexus in Thailand

Burin Sukphisal (School of Management, Asian Institute of Technology, Pathumthani, Thailand)
Winai Wongsurawat (College of Management, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand)

Journal of Science and Technology Policy Management

ISSN: 2053-4620

Article publication date: 3 July 2017




This paper aims to synthesize the history of bio-refinery in Thailand and analyze the public policy challenges hindering the industry’s growth and development since year 2000.


The authors assembled dispersed data on the industry structure, history of investment and the current state of bio-refinery in Thailand from numerous public organizations and media outlets. The chronicle covers the initial launching and subsequent market growth of ethanol, biodiesel and bio-chemicals. The most innovative analysis in this study is the identification of the key players in the bio-refinery value chain. The authors supply insights about each player’s stake, bargaining power, strategies and relative success/failure during the past few decades.


Instead of working together to develop bio-refinery, it appears the Thai petroleum companies, policymakers and automotive companies often delay or block developments that would benefit bio-fuel and bio-chemical producers and crop growers. Conflicts of interests have caused policymakers and regulators to favor already overly protected industries. Seventeen years of bio-fuel policy from 2000 to 2016 has shown that the major objectives of the government’s bio-fuel/bio-refinery policies have failed.


Using Thailand as a case study, this paper illustrates the critical role of politics, special interest groups and lobbying in determining the viability of bio-fuel/bio-refinery industries in developing countries.



Sukphisal, B. and Wongsurawat, W. (2017), "Challenges for the development of an integrated agro-food-energy-biochemical nexus in Thailand", Journal of Science and Technology Policy Management, Vol. 8 No. 2, pp. 181-205.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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